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Winter Meetings Thread: Day 1

Winter Meetings Thread: Day 1

The Winter Meetings are here, and the rumors are already flying fast and furious.  Unfortunately, not a whole lot surrounding the Cubs at the moment.  Hopefully that will change soon.  At the risk of shameless self-promotion, I'll be using my twitter feed (@mqmoody) to retweet or send out any rumors I find immediately since there's a slight delay here.  With that, on with the show!

UPDATES 8:00 PM

  • Not unexpected, but this makes me sad.  Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer (Twins writer) ran into Mark Prior at the Winter Meetings.  Prior has officially retired and may join the Padres front office.  My favorite comment on Prior's short but spectacular career remains this masterpiece by the boys over at the dearly departed Fire Joe Morgan.  (Look for "Going the Distance" about 3/4 of the way down.)
  • In news on current baseball players, Shin Soo Choo seems to be between the Diamondbacks and the Rangers, according to Jon Heyman.  L.A. radio host Joe McDonnell has the Angels ready to ship Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks for a package of pitchers if Choo signs with the Rangers.  My guess would be Tyler Skaggs leads that package.  I'd be very surprised if the Angels get Archie Bradley for Trumbo.

UPDATES 7:00 PM

  • Rosenthal again, and this might get interesting pretty quick.  He has the Diamondbacks active on "multiple fronts," possibly signing OF Shin-Soo Choo and trading for a pitcher *or* trading for 1B/OF Mark Trumbo and signing a FA pitcher.  Either way, we'll get a sign of the Diamondbacks intentions towards the Cubs and Jeff Samardzija based on whether or not they sign Choo or trade for Trumbo.
  • Given all the rumors we read today, I probably would have guessed this but Jeff Passan confirms it: Seems like slow day when only two transactions are David Cooper, Felipe Paulino signing. Not so. Executives reporting a ton of trade talk.

UPDATES 5:30 PM

  • (Mike): This really shouldn't surprise anyone, but Patrick Mooney (among many others) quotes Jed saying that the Samardzija situation is unrelated to the Tanaka situation.  I'm not sure who thought that the Cubs wouldn't love to have both pitchers on their team.
  • (Mike)" Ken Rosenthal has Mark Trumbo potentially on the move.  He specifically mentions the Diamondbacks as a destination and says the offers are improving.  This seems unlikely to affect the Cubs but if, say, Tyler Skaggs were involved in this trade, it would certainly limit the paths Kevin Towers would have available to make a Jeff Samardzija deal.
  • (Mike): More good stuff on Starlin from Carrie Muskat and Patrick Mooney.  Castro has been working with a Tim Buss on his strength and conditioning to improve his speed and, consequently, his range.  Hoyer thinks last year may have been a wake up call for Castro.

UPDATES 4:00 PM

  • (Mike) Okay, Jed Hoyer just stirred the water.  Jesse Rogers tweeted: Hoyer not ruling out trading a major prospect: “If it did make sense for the future we’d certainly consider it.”  I'm sure this will set a million keyboards atwitter, but it seems like he's not telling us anything we don't already know.  The Cubs have said everyone is available, and if including one of the big four in a potential Shark deal made the return just too good to pass up, I'm sure they'd consider it.  But I don't think this means the Cubs will be a significant player for David Price.
  • (John): Teams are asking about Starlin Castro but Jed Hoyer said that the Cubs young SS is not in play.  ""We're excited to have Starlin", said Hoyer.  I've been trying to say this despite rumors to the contrary.  Hopefully this puts an end to that speculation.  It never made a whole lot of sense for this offseason.  Nobody knows what the future holds there, but there is no reason to deal him now. (MIke): Regarding the Castro situation, there was some speculation that there was Castro vs. Sveum in the dugout by the end of last year.  If that's true, I think it's pretty clear whose side the front office took.  This last statement -- extremely emphatic -- sends a clear message on whose side they stand.  But, if this is the case, I think it was about more than Castro.  There are several young players, many of Hispanic heritage, coming up in the next year or two.  Having a manager and staff in place that makes Castro feel uncomfortable could make those players uncomfortable.  I don't mean to disparage Dale Sveum here.  I believe he's a good baseball man who will succeed as a manager.  But, there may have been a style and personality that was, at this time, not conducive to bringing up young players.  After the atmosphere had been poisoned, he would have had a very hard time winning the players back.
  • (John) Rogers also tweeted that Castro is working out with strength coach Tim Buss so that he can come into the spring in better shape this year.
  • (John); Adam Kilgore tweets that the Cubs are interested in former Nationals closer Drew Storen and speculates the Nats would be interested in Nate Schierholtz or James Russell.  Meanwhile Wittenmeyer tweets something similar, "Cubs looking at reliever trade market. Eyeing Nats' Storen, Clippard among others."  Sure.  An established reliever does make sense.  I don't know if I'd trade a starting RF for one or make a James Russell deal to take one step forward and one step back.  The Nationals are also shopping 2B Danny Espinosa and I would really like to see if the Cubs can make a package deal for both if they want Schierholtz.  Espinosa can play defense and has a little pop in his bat.  He will strike out -- a lot, but he will also take a walk from time to time.
  • (John): Wittenmeyer tweets that Jeff Samardzija is getting more attention than any other Cub during these winter meetings but that Nate Schierholtz is also getting some attention.
  • (John): Good news if you are a fan of the Cubs signing Tanaka, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times reports that the Dodgers interest in Tanaka is "lukewarm".
  • (John): I think Brett Anderson has become my Coco Crisp of this season.  As many of you may remember, I badly wanted the Cubs to sign Crisp as a stop gap outfielder but he took a nice deal to sign with the A's and it has paid off for them.  Anderson is the guy I would like to see them take a chance on this year.  He's still young and as long as it doesn't cost them long term, it's worth the gamble, in my opinion.  And it doesn't hurt that he has a sense of humor about himself.  When Jon Morosi tweeted that Brett Anderson was a Plan B solution, Anderson tweeted back, "so I'm like the morning-after pill?"

UPDATES 3:00 PM

  • (John): Jon Morosi talked to one interested GM who believes Masahiro Tanaka will be posted.  Morosi suspects we will find out one way or another in the next 24-48 hours.
  • (John): Jon Heyman reports what we've pretty much been saying for the past couple of weeks: "#mariners, #rangers, #dodgers are at this point the 3 most serious suitors for david price. Have the interest and players."  Not news to us here and none of those teams have been connected strongly with the Cubs on Samardzija, so I'll be happy if it goes down with any of those three teams.
  • (Mike): Ken Rosenthal has the Orioles, Mariners, and Rangers in talks with OF Nelson Cruz.  Some wanted the Cubs to make a run at him, but that seems almost impossible now.
  • (Mike): Jayson Stark reports that the Marlins have announced they're trading Logan Morrison.  I'm pretty sure 29 other GMs in baseball already knew that.  Good example of how a team shoots itself in the foot.  They've put themselves into a position where the only move is to trade Morrison.  Their only hope at recovering some value is to spark a bidding war and, with the way he's played, that seems unlikely.

UPDATES 2:00 PM

  • (Mike)Ken Rosenthal has the Twins closing in on yet another free agent pitcher, this time former Red Bronson Arroyo.  I'm intrigued by what the Twins are doing here.  Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton both appear to be at least a year away.  However, they're already putting together a pretty nice middle of the rotation to go with these guys.  I'm wondering if this is (a) because they like the middle of the rotation starters in this class better than the next class or (b) because they see salaries taking another leap next off season.
  • (John):  The White Sox made a nice upside signing on Felipe Paulino, a pitcher that at least one of our readers suggested (sorry, can't remember which one(s) right now).
  • (John): Bruce Levine tweets that the Dodgers and Rays may be hooking up on David Price.  I really hope this is true.  I don't expect the Dodgers to be in on Samardzija and that would leave the Cubs open to talk with the remaining teams.  Dodgers don't have much in the way of depth.  They'd pretty much have to empty out there system of top prospects to make a quality bid. (Mike): Never liked them as a Shark landing spot.
  • (Mike):  I wasn't as big on the hot stove stuff back then, but I remember the rumor that Scott Boras had the Rangers bidding against themselves in the negotiations that eventually took Alex Rodriguez from Seattle to Texas.  Well, Grant Brisbee reports the Mariners decided Robinson Cano was so important to them they had to repeat that negotiating tactic.  I hope the Mariners front office isn't as incompetent as the last few days have painted it.  On the other hand, I really, really want this story to be true. (John):  It reminds me of when Crane Kenney/John McDonough outbid Jim Hendry for Alfonso Soriano.

UPDATES 1:00 PM

  • (Mike): John and I have a nice tennis game going on the pitchers here.  The plot is thickening.  Joel Sherman tweets "Exec from team expected to be major Price players says Rays haven't pushed hard yet, thinks even possible TB begins season with him." This could very well be the Rays slow playing the market much like the Cubs are with Samardzija and waiting for it to come to them.  However, that might mean the DBacks -- and the single best piece possibly available this offseason -- are out on the Samardzija market until they know what happens to Price.  All of this could make the perfect storm and result in a long, agonizing winter of "When will Jeff be traded?" stories.  (John): For what it's worth, I've heard from one scout that A) Price has not been shopped and B) There is no guarantee he''ll be traded this offseason.  It could be posturing, as we know the Rays have no intention of trading anyone without receiving significant surplus value, but like the Cubs, I suspect they'd rather hang on to him rather than trade him for anything less than what they want this offseason.
  • (John):  Chris Sale is not on the market, according to this tweet from Jerry Crasnick: I asked a GM who is in the market for pitching about Chris Sale. "He's not out there,'' the GM said.  Some wondered if the Cubs would make a play for a LH cost controlled ace while others may worry about Sale stealing a Samardzija suitor from the Cubs.  It appears that neither will happen this offseason.  Crasnick does add, "Sure, #whitesox would listen. But Sale is signed for reasonable price thru 2019. It would take a gigantic trade offer."  In other words, he's not being made available and if someone asks, the price will be prohibitive -- much, much more than the price of Price according to Dan Szymborski.
  • (John):  According to Joel Sherman, one exec in on Anderson says#Athletics very available Brett Anderson is "Plan B not Plan A guy, he has a lot of risk, but also lots of upside"  Makes you wonder a) who the exec is and b) what plan A is.  One depends on the other.  I suspect that most likely, it's David Price or for some teams, Jeff Samardzija, is plan A.  If it were a Cubs exec to say this, then we would probably assume that Masahiro Tanaka is Plan A.
  • (John): Meanwhile, Sherman also tweets, "Towers: "we have the prospects to get anyone that is available."  Again, that is interesting to Cubs fans.  Towers has said in the past that he knows what it takes to get Jeff Samardzija.  Obviously he has been unwilling to meet that price at this point.  One has to assume they'll make that run at David Price if they feel like they can get anyone they want, but maybe Samardzija is their plan B.
  • (Mike):  This probably means nothing, but Bob Nightengale says the closest thing the DBacks have to untouchables are 1B Paul Goldschmidt and LHP Pat Corbin.  Notice a name that isn't there?  However, it's possible (probable) Towers was just referring to major league players.
  • (Mike) The David Price market appears to be heating up.  Jake Seiner of MiLB made a list of prospects that could be headed to Tampa Bay in any deal for Price.  However, in a comment that may mean his team is staying out of the market for now,  Bill Shaikin of the LA Times quotes Mariners' GM Jack Zduriencik saying he expects Taijuan Walker to be a Mariner.
  • Grumble. @WinterMeetings: Congrats Cardinals on being named the Baseball America Organization of the Year.

  • Roch Kubtako claims that the Orioles may seek to cure their case of Samardzitis with a good (Bartolo) Colon cleansing.  (My once a day terrible pun.)
  • (John) Professor Parks and the guys on the BP Prospect team have a fun debate on Aaron Sanchez vs. Marcus Stroman.  Of course, we're all hoping the Blue Jays will part with one or the other, though it will be very difficult to pry either one loose.
  • To add on to John's point about the Sherman tweet below, do you remember all the hand-wringing when Theo didn't trade Garza before the 2012 season?  Now, it's working to our advantage.  Not only did we get the sexy Olt-Edwards package but everyone knows Theo is 100% willing to start the season with Jeff Samardzija on the roster.  That increases the pressure on them to blink because they know Theo isn't going to.
  • We aren't the only ones curious about the Jeff Samardzija soap opera.  Carris Muskat blogs that other beat writers are asking her whether the big right hander will be traded.

UPDATES 12:00 PM

  • Chris Cotillo has four names possibly on the trading block: Sale, Trumbo, Andrus, and Domonic Brown.  Andrus is the most interesting of those to me.  Presumably Profar would side over to his natural position -- after having struggled some in his first season in the majors.   If the rumor is true, it tells you how sold the front office is on the young player.
  • (John): Joel Sherman tweets: #Cubs definitely talking Samardzija but price high and 1 interested exec said: “they will get it or just put him back on the market in July”.  This is what I really like about this front office because it very much reminds me of what the Rays do.  When have you ever known the Rays to settle and make a deal before they could get surplus value?  They just don't.  There is only one reason to trade Jeff Samardzija now and that is to get significant surplus long term value on a deal.  If they don't, they can wait because it's likely they can get a similar offer later provided Samardzija is healthy.   The number of interested teams is usually greater at the meetings because front offices are more optimistic before the season starts, so the Cubs should have the advantage of a large pool of bidders.  However, deadlines and pennant races have a way of making a team act in the way the winter meetings do not.   So the Cubs can and should be willing to wait if they don't get what they want during the meetings.d
  • Jeff Passan tweets, "Sources: Phillies actively shopping OF Domonic Brown. Looking for controllable starting pitching in return. Idea is to sell high on him."  Hmm, where have we heard that before?  Why, right here, of course!  The Phillies would like starting pitcher and we reported their interest in Samardzija.  We mentioned that Brown is their main trade piece but that the Cubs would be more interested in pitching, so we believe a 3rd team would have to get involved.

From Earlier

  • Jeff Moore at MLB Prospect Watch address the Phillies interest in Jeff Samardzija.
  • Hey, actual Cubs news.  Bruce Levine has the Yankees -- which we knew -- and Atlanta -- which we didn't -- officially in on Jeff Samardzija.  The Yankees seem like an extreme longshot.  They just don't match up well with the Cubs.  The Braves have the prospects.  The question is whether or not they will part with them.
  • Buster Olney has the Pirates meeting with RHP Bronson Arroyo's agent.  The Pirates are known to want a new starting pitcher.  We've speculated -- though there has never been confirmation -- that the Pirates might enter the Jeff Samardzija sweepstakes this winter.  Signing Arroyo would effectively remove them from competition.
  • It wouldn't be a major baseball event without Gordon Wittenmeyer dumping ice cold water on Cubs fans.  The upshot of this one: Tanaka is hopeless and the Cubs are going to trade Samardzija.
  • 1B/OF Garrett Jones is going to the Miami Marlins on a 2-year deal, according to Joe Frisaro at MLB.com.  The 32-year old Jones has spent his entire career with the Pirates.  He teased with a .274/.317/.516 slash in 2012 before dropping to .233/.289/.419 last year.  A two year deal for a guy leaving his prime that's always been more potential than results.  This market is going to be crazy.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports has an article with some quotes from Orioles GM Dan Duquette.  It seems to throw cold water on the Jeff Samardzija trade rumors: ""If we're going to be successful, we're going to have to develop additional starting pitchers to come up through our farm system to make an impact on the major league team.  That's where the Orioles are going to get value from their pitching program. It's not going to come from high-priced free agents. So, if people are expecting the Orioles to go out and sign a significant pitcher, I think it's more realistic to look for good pitchers to come up through the farm system."
  • According to Jon Heyman, one anonymous NL GM agrees with several posters here.  He wouldn't trade Taijuan Walker for David Price straight up.
  • Jon Morosi has the White Sox potentially trading Chris Sale, although that is a long shot..  An anonymous GM tells Ken Rosenthal teams are going to push the White Sox on that.  This is not great news for the Cubs as Jeff Samardzija would no longer be the second best pitcher available on the market.  (In fact, it might be David Price.)  Underscoring this problem for the Cubs, Buster Olney tweets that the Diamondbacks would be in him if he's made available.  If this drama drags out for too long, it increases the chance that Samardzija is not traded at the winter meetings and may, in fact, push the trade to July.  You didn't expect this to be easy, did you?
  • Heyman also has the Dodgers making multiple offers to a name we've discussed here, Juan Uribe.  At this point, they are unwilling to go to 3 years for him, though.  I would imagine the Cubs would also balk at a three year contract given their third base contingent rising through the minors.  Another of his old teams, the White Sox, are also considering him, again according to Heyman, but as they want a left handed third baseman, he isn't a perfect fit for them.  Eric Chavez jumps out as a possibility in the free agent market.  If Chavez is priced out of their range, the Cubs and Luis Valbuena jump out as trade partners.
  • Wunderkind Chris Cotillo has the Royals in on Omar Infante, possibly even meeting with him last night.
  • ICYMI Yesterday, if you are a little rumor weary, here is a look at some names to look at in house as far as pitching prospects.

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  • Wittenmeyer is become a parody account at this point

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ike03:

    Agreed. I stopped following him several months ago on Twitter. He's just pandering to the meatball crowd. He's going to have nothing to talk about when the ship is righted.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    He does clown it up a bit, but there's usually some grains of fact in there that others don't report.

    There were reports last week in several places that Tanaka might be an exception to the Cubs' spending restrictions, and it was generally assumed that they meant that a posting fee might not count for the purposes of staying in line with the debt agreements. So having Tanaka's cost shift from mostly posting fee to mostly salary would be problematic. None of the non-clown reporters in town seem to want to touch a story like that, or at least if they did I missed it.

    I'm very intrigued by Wittenmeyer referencing "boasting" by the "business side" as the source of those reports. That's everything but naming Crane Kenney as the source.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Kyle:

    Tanaka: Phil Rogers (Chicago Tribune) suggests the “[q]uestion for [the] Cubs in a Tanaka sweepstakes will be whether [the club’s] owners want him badly enough to outbid [the] Dodgers, Rangers, and maybe Mariners.”

  • In reply to Ike03:

    He must lead a sad, miserable life writing about stuff he hates every day.

  • fb_avatar

    I'm all for signing Chavez. He'd give a good 300-400 at bats, obp, some pop. Goldglove caliber defense.

  • I wish we would see the Cubs trading for Matt Kemp. Not sure what it would take but at 29 Kemp would fit the Cubs Way as I understand it.

  • In reply to EasternCub:

    I was thinking the same thing last night. After a while I drew the conclusion that this in some ways would be similar to signing Soriano. They both have/had rare combinations of power and speed. Kemp is 2 years younger than Soriano when he was signed. If Kemp was healthy and declined similar to Soriano, his speed would still be good for 2 years and his bat wouldn't slow for about 4 years. Although it's still intriguing, I don't believe this signing aligns with the overall plan.

  • Roy Halladay retired!

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    3 way with Padres and Yanks involving Shark and Headley?

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    With who coming back to the Cubs?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Maybe Gary Sanchez plus some pitching prospect from the Padres? That could work.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to João Lucas:

    Shark for Wisler/Fried, Sanchez, Banuelos, and Fuentes. Boom.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I really like the first 3 Fried, Wisler, Sanchez, but I would definitely ask for Rafael De Paula also - Big upside

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Sanchez, M ason Williams, DePaula only things in Yanks system worth anything. DePaula only arm prospect not counting last draft that is worth discussing

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    All of that for a 2nd starter?

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Now that makes some sense. If Padres are indeed about winning this year, then Shark helps that and buys them another year of cost control.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    The Cubs are looking to the trade market in their search for relievers and have eyed both Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen of the Nationals, among others, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (on Twitter).

  • I'm not sure the Braves have the pieces for a Shark deal. Lucas Sims would almost have to be included, but they seem to lack upside arms in their system. I doubt the Cubs would be interested in Bethancourt.

    I guess if the Braves included both Sims and Graham, but there just doesn't seem like a whole lot to like in that system when it comes to pitching (or position players either, really).

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I would be surprised if the Braves were in early on Samardzija. Expressing interest maybe -- touching base, sure I can see that. But to me they're not getting involved if the Cubs are looking for big surplus value. They're a team I can see looking to swoop in if Cubs can't get that big surplus value offer and they'll make a fair value deal, as they did with Maholm-Vizcaino at the deadline two years ago.

  • fb_avatar

    I just want to point out that I mentioned Atlanta as an outside-the-box candidate after Hudson signed with SF and was shot downm by the community. I mentioned Atlanta because I have man-love for Lucas Sims.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    all due kudos.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to SKMD:

    LOL. Free Starbucks for everybody!

  • Wonder if ATL would move Alex Wood, Lucas Sims type package
    for Shark?

  • Joel Sherman ‏@Joelsherman1 7m
    #Cubs definitely talking Samardzija but price high and 1 interested exec said: "they will get it or just put him back on the market in July"

    Probably the correct approach, but opens up the possibility of Shark pulling a Garza.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I think you need to take that risk. I'm never in favor of making a deal out of fear. Bad things happen then too.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    exactly and there's no reason to think his value will drop between now and then. We can't predict injuries, but if we could - he has no injury history so....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Hypothetical -- who's worth more, Shark today, or Shark with #2 production either at the trade deadline or even next offseason?

    Part of me thinks the Cubs' desire to trade him now is that they're not buying into the idea that he'll improve much from here on out.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Samardzija pitches with so much emotion that I would be afraid that this summer about effect his performance.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Sorry I meant Winter.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    that emotion could also be that proverbial chip on his shoulder to prove he's an Ace too....

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Hypothetically speaking, if he pitches like an Ace, his value will be maxed at the deadline through next winter/offseason.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm absolutely OK with them waiting for the trade deadline to trade Samardzija, though to me there is more risk than with Garza. The difference is, Garza had a proven track record that goes beyond Samardzija's. So if Samardzija's numbers are not really solid by July, even if he's healthy, the conclusion may be that he will never reach his potential. He may be more firmly branded as a No. 4 starter.
    On the other hand, if he's 12-2 with a 2.25 ERA, it's going to be really hard for the Cubs to explain to their fans why they are trading him, even if the return is really good. There will be pressure to offer him a huge contract even though he'll be nearly 30. It's tricky, and I'm glad I'm not a GM.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    It also opens up the possibility that Samardzija reaches his TOR potential this summer and his value soars.

  • fb_avatar

    You're doing an awesome job, Mike, thanks!

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    I wanted to respond to the Wittenmeyer comment on the last thread but didn't have the time then, and since we've moved onto this thread I'll throw it in here.

    Yes, GW does seem to have it in for Ricketts - I'd say more Ricketts than the Cubs. He seems like their own personal black cloud, and it does get old.

    That said, I'm going to have to simply say that he has his sources who have given him info on the Zell-Ricketts sale deal, and those sources tell him the deal is handcuffing the Cubs financially. We have to take him at his word on that. What "proof" can we expect - Ricketts is not going to release the legal/financial details of his purchase, and he shouldn't have to any more than any of us should have to reveal details of our last home or car purchase.

    And finally, I haven't heard anyone in ownership or FO outright denying GW's claims. All we keep hearing is, "when the time comes, the money will be there" - which is an easy statement to make when you keep pushing the time frame back. I don't see any progress in the new revenue streams (signage, scoreboard, TV). I think Tanaka will be a real test of the "when the time comes" philosophy - the time is here, and if the Cubs don't make a strong push - not Dodger/Yankee insane, but a strong legit offer - then we have to question whether we're being taken for a buggy ride.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    The problem I have with GW's narrative is that just a few short years ago everyone complained (including the writers) that the Cubs never built a farm system and only spent big $$ on free agents. Now they're clearly doing it right, and all they do is complain/criticize. What FA were the writers beating the drums for over the last 2 offseasons- Pujols, Fielder, Hamilton? How have those turned out? I think NOT signing those guys made Theo look pretty smart.

    What i really am waiting to see is whether guys like Wittenmeyer and many other writers who continue ripping the Cubs will eat their words in 2 seasons when the Cubs are beginning to contend for an extended period.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Nateisnotnice:

    I don't think anyone worth reading locally was beating the drums for Pujols and Fielder, that was just national media that spun the connections out of thin air in order to sell papers and web visits. At least, I don't recall Wittenmeyer pushing signing those guys. What GW seems to keep hammering on is that Ricketts is essentially a fraud, he's bitten off more than he can afford with the Cubs, and we've been sold a bill of goods. I don't think GW is against the rebuild concept per se. What'll make him eat his words is if Ricketts opens up his wallet and signs a big name.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I guess the problem with the "Ricketts is a fraud" narrative is that under his first draft as owner, the Cubs drafted BPA and spend significantly more than they ever have. He invested millions in a Dominican prospect facility. He hired the absolute best in the business to run the baseball organization- technically hired away the GM's from 2 MLB clubs- and paid them very well. He spent way beyond the limit in INTL pool money. He's invested in developing an entire organization, and offered to rehab Wrigley out of his own pocket instead of coning the taxpayers to do it. I'm just not sure how any of that indicates "biting off more than he can chew" or selling the fans a bill of goods. Sure, they've not spent a ton on FA signings, but that obviously has more to do with the fact that building in that way is not a good idea than it does with how much $$ is available. He;s making good business decisions.

    What FA's was Wittenmeyer suggesting they pursue that they haven't then?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Nateisnotnice:

    I don't keep track of what player every writer wants, but you're preaching to the choir - I agree there's no indication yet that ricketts is either cheap or house-poor. The offer to Anibal Sanchez really helped dispel a lot of doubt for me.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    He says he is a fraud, but has no facts to back him up, other than unnamed "sources". He is as bad as the idiots on the SCR who just try to be controversial to build up readership/listenership.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DaveP:

    We'll this goes back to my one defense of GW - what "facts" could he possibly provide, short of bribing Ricketts's accountant to open up the books? 90% of reporting is based on unnamed sources - in this week of mlb rumors check out how many times you'll hear that term used.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    I just remember when Theo Epstein was hired, and granted, these boards had far fewer comment contributors, but almost everybody to a man was against Epstein even playing the free agent market until he rebuilt the farm system and handpicked a few under-cost under-the-radar free agents that showed success.

    The Lackey and Crawford deals in Boston seemed to be the basis for not wanting Epstein to navigate the FA market. It seems a lot of people have reversed field here (and again, the boards have far more contributors).

    I just don't see the logic into buying players and then waiting 2-3 years to be competitive. What if Seattle cannot get anything else done this offseason? Well, they essentially paid $24 million dollars for 5-6 wins. On a cost-per-WAR basis (I use $5.7M over 1.0 WAR) that's a better than fair deal. But going from a 71-win team to a 77-win team isn't worth the $24M. I think that's the part some Cubs fans are forgetting. You can't just piece together a team via free agency over a coupe years. You have to be all in to strike, and all out not to. The Cubs are all out right now.

    As far as trade possibilities, I do like the Jesse Biddle/Dom Brown and "pieces" suggestion for Samardzija however. Probably a lot more than most. I think Biddle is underrated and could become a monster with the right pitching coach. I think with the wrong pitching coach he is at worst a Rick Porcello comp. And Philly is shopping Brown - so something could be possible I suppose.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Except here's the problem. The Cubs have spent money and continue to try to spend money. They gave big money extensions to Rizzo and Castro whent hey could have just ridden out arb raises, they tried to sign Sanchez for $80 mil, they signed Jackson for $52 mil, they paid $29 mil for a 19 year old Cuban player, they made competitive bids for Ryu and Darvish, they spent over slot when they could and when the rules changed they spent the max allowable, they went way over their cap in the international market this year....yes, payroll is down but thats not necessarily a bad thing. Spending money for the sake of spending money is what got the Cubs in this position in the first place.

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    In reply to Ike03:

    This is the best defense of the current regime I've ever read. Well said!

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    In reply to Ike03:

    I agree, these are the "facts" that disprove GW; it's hard to provide facts or proof to support his sources.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Back of the envelope calculation: Annual payments on 700 mil. in debt at 5-6% would be 50-60 mil. I have no idea what revenues are but if they are around 200 mil. then its easy to see why those payments are constraining spending.

    The problem is that I do see "now" as the time to some extent. It's been 2 years; they've broken down the team and shed all the bad contracts excepting 1 more partial year of Soriano. Unless we are waiting for Javy Baez free agency, it's time to stop breaking down and start building back up.

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    In reply to TheMightyGin:

    not sure that 2 years is a magic number. The time is now when the prospects are not only up but showing that they can perform in the majors. The only guys I can see spending big money on now are Tanaka because he's young enough to still be here (and good) in 3-5 years, and Choo or Brett Gardner because they can also still be here (and good) in 3-5 years and I don't buy the premise that as soon as the alarm goes off on 4/1/2015 our outfield will be all good to go.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    When have they ever pushed the time frame back? Seems to be like everything is right on schedule. Two and a half years of tearing down before some kids come up seems fair.

  • I think gm's are so interested in shark because hes almost a guarantee to throw 200 innings with his build and mileage. They also see the strikeouts and see him thriving in the toughest ballparks. Price on the other hand got hurt and lost velocity and some metrics like shark better.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    my bad Price is still better in advanced metrics but they are pretty close in Xfip the last 2 years. Shark around 3.4 and Price at 3.2.

    That's Probably why shark is holding out on a extension.

    Shark my be looking for a breakout year like Scherzer. Scherzer had great stuff and metrics, but didn't always put it together. Scherzer made a change to his mechanics i believe.

    GM's see the metrics and the stuff and are probably thinking Scherzer 2.0.

  • I just hope 1 GM out there this week decides to pull the trigger and overpay, want the saga over and some young arms that lineup time wise better with Baez, Bryant ect. Shark needs to take Himself to a win now team.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    That would be ideal. I'd really like to see this Samardzija situation resolved.

  • gordo:

    "How long till all the pieces are in place and the Cubs can, if they choose, make moves like the New York Yankees — or even the
    Seattle Mariners?"

    hopefully they this route never choose. signing aging free agents to 10 year deals because your front office is in disarray, or you mortgaged your farm system to bring in a-rod is something i never, ever, ever hope to see the cubs do.

  • In reply to JamesInFLA:

    Hear hear! That Mariners article from yesterday was dumbfounding. Guess that's why we can't always judge a manager by his former team's record.

  • Actually the similarties in Scherzer and Shark are pretty striking.
    Scherzers ERA 2 years prior to 2013 his ERA was around 4 and his xfip was around 3.45. It's pretty much inline with shark's last 2 years

  • Just read that the White Soxs are trying to trade some of their
    starting pitchers. This is not good for the Cubs

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    It's totally irrelevant to what we do. They are not trading Sale anyway and the Snakes don't have the talent to pull it off.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    We should always expect competition in any market. It will always happen this time of year, but the top trade pieces remain 1) David Price and 2) Jeff Samardzija -- while some teams may put Samardzija first simply because it may cost a lot more to get Price.

  • Off topic but I'm continuing to tweak the spam filter. I think less posts are getting trapped and no actual spam getting through, so it's good. But still seeing some comments get caught up. I apologize for that. Will keep working with it. I think I'm getting close :)

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    Re: Domonic Brown, I would also prefer to get pitching back for Samardzija, but I'm having a hard time thinking of any plausible package that would bring the Cubs more value than Brown alone (assuming the Phillies would be interested in a one-for-one swap).

  • John i was talking to someone about baseball and he brought up a guy named Norge Ruiz, who i haven't heard of before as a potential free agent in cuba. Do you know stuff about him?

  • In reply to kingpro98:

    I'm afraid I don't have any info on him at the moment. I'd have to research and ask around.

  • One more from Badler, who writes that 19-year-old Cuban right-hander Norge Ruiz has cemented himself as a rising star in the eyes of scouts (subscription required). He's just 5'10" and 170 pounds, but Ruiz worked at 89-94 mph and flashed terrific command of two plus breaking pitches against the U.S. College national team last month. -- MLBTR

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Thanks E.

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    Who likes Shark for Kemp?

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Only if the money works in our favor

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    No chance on that, Dale. That is a potential disaster.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    You're so conservative! Ha ha-I just want something to happen-this whole week is always nuts for me.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Ha! I don't know about that :) but Kemp isn't a guy I would gamble on. I could be wrong, but he's been declining. He's a bit injury prone and he makes a ton of money. In 2 years, he'll be at the age (32) where most players start to decline more quickly and more steadily. We already saw this happen with Soriano, just not excited to make a similar mistake.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Kemp is a big gamble. His injury history is extremely serious.

    If we get him as a minor piece, as we did Olt, fine. But not as a centerpiece for our best pitcher and trading chip.

  • One more from Badler, who writes that 19-year-old Cuban right-hander Norge Ruiz has cemented himself as a rising star in the eyes of scouts (subscription required). He's just 5'10" and 170 pounds, but Ruiz worked at 89-94 mph and flashed terrific command of two plus breaking pitches against the U.S. College national team last month. - MLBTR

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    My dumb Cubs fan trade idea of the day... My dream would be a trade between KC/PHI/CHC:

    Brown & Barney -> KC
    Samardzija -> PHI
    Kyle Zimmer & Donnie Joseph -> CHC

    KC's looking for an inexpensive middle of the order outfield bat. Zimmer is near-major league ready.

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    In reply to Phil James:

    I could see it, but I could also see KC using to Zimmer to keep Samardzija for themselves. They need to replace Ervin Santana. In that scenario, they may want to expand the deal to include Schierholtz.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I thought Vargas was their answer to Santana?

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    In reply to Phil James:

    I forgot about him. Royals fans will wish they could. I think you're right, though.

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    In reply to Phil James:

    I don't see the Royals trading for Price or Samardzija. They are worried enough about signing Shields, let alone having to re-up one of those guys the following year.

    Moore has his contract extension, so he stays the course. Zimmer and Ventura are going to slot nicely behind Shields. That is an improving team, though the cautionary tale for Cubs fans is that complete system rebuilds can take longer than expected due to player attrition, trades, free agency and roster management. I think at the big league level, the Cubs have at least managed that risk considerably by long-terming Castro and Rizzo.

  • Reading that the Dodgers and Rays might be matching up for Price. That would be fantastic! Takes them out of the market for Tanaka and takes price off the market.

  • Maybe kemp and some cash for soler and lesser pieces.

    Kemp is a risk but his ceiling was way higher than soler. We get a veteran that can mentor and produce. I dont think we can field a team with a bunch of 23-24 yr olds.

    Also the cubs need to create some buzz and fans r losing interest. That could effect a new tv deal.

    Tanka and kemp ftw.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    Baez and Bryant will create all of the buzz the Cubs need.

    I'm not super high on Soler, so I wouldn't be against this trade assuming the cash coming from the Dodgers is fairly significant. But I wouldn't do it as a way to create buzz. You do it if it is worth the risk to get an impact player. Fans and FAs are not going to come back once Baez and Bryant starting cranking HRs. The team will not even need to improve in the standings for that to occur. It doesn't take much buzz to convince people to go to Wrigley. They are looking for an excuse to go.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Big Market teams need big name players. I am sure Baez and Bryant will be house hold names SOMEDAY, but we can't expect them to come up and become instant superstars. Just look at Castro.

    The Cubs still draw fans, but attendance #'s are dropping. It doesn't bode well for a tv deal.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    Baez & Bryant are power hitters in a park known for HR's... Castro is not on their level.

    That said, you are 100% that we shouldn't expect them to be instant superstars. We already place too much pressure on Castro/Rizzo; we need to spread it around some.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Castro isn't on Baez's level ,but many believed 2 years ago he was gonna become a .300 + hitter and a 20/20 player at SS, which i would consider a star.

    I like you point on the pressure. Obtaining a veteran star does help them develop without them having the pressure of being THE GUY.

    I think Bryant and especially Baez might have that swag and just play the game without pressure and intimidation. Rizzo and Castro don't seem to be the guys to lead. They will compliment the other players in the lineup.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    Unless it is a one-year contract, TV deals aren't based on the current year's product. Broadcasting the Cubs as these kids come up and the team (at least potentially in viewer's minds) begins their rise to being a consistent World Series contender is what the new TV contract will be built around.

    Would you want to hold the rights to that?

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    So should big market teams trade young talent that could be vital parts of future success for injury prone big names that might have great seasons but still not contend?

    That doesn't seem like a recipe for success.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I guess i am still High on Kemp and think his tools and talent still make him superstar if his health checks out. If the health is good he will hit a ton of hrs out of Wrigley.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    Dodgers GM just said that Kemp is still in a walking boot that won't come off for a couple of weeks and that he doesn't expect Kemp to be running fully by spring training. Unless the Dodgers are willing to take an extreme discount and eat a lot of money, I don't see them trading him now. I don't why they would choose to sell so low when they don't have to.

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    "...remember all the hand-wringing when Theo didn't trade Garza before the 2012 season? Now, it's working to our advantage. Not only did we get the sexy Olt-Edwards package..."

    Id rather have Martin Perez over Edwards as well as having Delgado for Dempster over the package we got from TX but that's water under the bridge.

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    Delgado is becoming a bit overrated in my opinion. He's probably a 4th or 5th starter. I think Hendricks can be the same, just in a different style. The Cubs were ready to make that Perez deal (if that rumor is true) but we don't know if they were the hold up. It may have been Texas or another team asking to see another start or two. But the common denominator here is that the Cubs didn't rush and weren't going to settle on Garza. They waited until they got the package they wanted. I suspect they were ready to pull the trigger and it wasn't their choice to give Garza another start.

    No matter what the situation, you should never deal from a position of fear. The moment you do that, you'll always get a hard time getting good value. The reason the Cubs even got such good offers to begin with is that they were willing to wait out a good offer rather than dealing early.

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    In reply to Pooch7171:

    Edwards is rising up a lot of charts and quickly. Perez has been injury prone up till this year but when he did get an extended look he was good.

    Its a hard decision but I think I'd still take Edwards. The times I've seen him he like looked like a complete stud. I realize its small sample size alert but I never got that feel from Perez.

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    I feel just the opposite. I believe the package we got for Garza this year is much better than the one containing Perez. And I would much rather have Vizcaino than Delgado.

  • I think the Phils match up perfectly if they are willing to build a package around Brown/Biddle

  • Dylan Hernandez ‏@dylanohernandez 7m
    #Dodgers interest in Masahiro Tanaka appears to be lukewarm: http://lat.ms/IYK4tf

    But he could be the Mariners next target...

  • im really hoping that the dodgers trade for price, because LA is not a realistic destination for samardzija right now and that will only make the price for JS go up.

    Also after Kershaw-Greinke-Price-Ryu-Haren (Beckett, Billingsly) there rotation is obviously settled and tanaka wouldn't make sense for them so that takes another serious bidder out of the tanaka sweepsteaks as well, win-win for cubs fans.

  • Gordon Wittenmyer ‏@GDubCub now
    Cubs looking at reliever trade market. Eyeing Nats' Storen, Clippard among others.

    Not sure what it would cost to get either one...but I'd rather sign someone like Axford/Bailey/Chamberlin before giving up assets.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I would be OK with a Schierholtz/Clippard deal, if the Nats are interested... Or Barney/Storen, but I wouldn't touch a top prospect for them.

  • Cubs interested in Drew Storen/Tyler Clippard.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Link or source?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Gordon Wittenmyer, go check mlbtraderumors.com.

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    They should ask about Espinosa if they're talking with the Nats.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Agreed.

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    In reply to Ray:

    I like his potential. Can play 2B, SS, and 3B hits LH. Used to be highly rated. Maybe a change of scenery candidate? Defense not as good as Barney's but it's decent enough combined with his bat to make him a better fit.

  • Schierholtz, and Russell are reported as pieces the Nats might like

  • In reply to David Davidon:

    I can see Schierholtz/Russell for Clippard/Storen.... If that happens, it makes you wonder how realistic the Choo rumors are.

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    Giolito and Storen for Barney. Nats believe Darwin on the verge of a breakout year and feel the cost was worth it.

    Make it happen, Theo

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    He's a smart man, but I don't think he knows how to hypnotize people yet lol.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Depends what type of punch was served with lunch at the meetings.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Pshhhh not unless they throw in that bum Harper.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Sounds fair :)

  • Even if this happens Jeff should still be shopped around

  • Padres are looking for relief per Olney , these got alot of prospects maybe could get a good one for Russell

  • Love this website, get on everyday after class and check every night before bed..I am a huge Cubbies fan and what Theo has done to the organization..Having young players always seems the way to go and I hope the Cubs continue to avoid big contracts (including Choo, Tanaka an exception). Keep it up guys, just know that you have a true follower and reader soaking up everything you write!!

  • In reply to snipeshooter:

    Thanks for the kind words!

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    Hopefully that last update finally shuts down the "Castro is getting traded" nonsense..... Then again maybe not, Cubs could him to a 20 yr deal and people would still swear he's getting traded (see Cubs fans on Cubs.com. Mlbtraderumors, Chicagosports.com, etc)

    Maybe the thought process is if they say it over and over again every single day maybe it might happen lol

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Unless they're just trying to bump up the return... :-P (Sorry, Marcel, couldn't resist)

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    absolutely, amen.

    " It never made a whole lot of sense for this offseason. Nobody knows what the future holds there, but there is no reason to deal him now."

    --couldn't agree more.

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    don't like the talk of trading for relievers. Cubs don't have a good record in that area; karchner, aguilera, heredia, alfonseca, many others I've long forgotten or supressed. Middle relievers are inherently unreliable; they have up and down years, and to me these are the epitome of paying for past performance. If they were reliable pitchers they'd either be starting or closing. Spending mere money for an Axford or such, I'm all for. But trading Schierholtz or Russell (which, as someone said above, is one step forward and one step back) for any middle reliever is just a bad idea.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    All those relievers you mentioned were acquired by previous front offices. If this front office wants to acquire a middle reliever, I'll guve them the benefit of the doubt to have it be for good value.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    oh, come on. You can't be serious.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Of course I am. Why wouldn't I be serious about trusting this front office to make good decisions and make a trade that will have good value for their team?

    I don't see the value in trading Russell for another reliever, but the report we are responding to didn't say what the Cubs were willing to give up for Storen or Clippard just that they were interested.

    I certainly am serious that we shouldn't judge this front office's possible moves on the performance of previous regimes.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    I just thought this was a discussion board, not a church. My mistake, peace out.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    ?

    Is that a sarcastic way of saying that I worship at the alter of Theo and Jed? Or are you just trolling?

    Each front office is it's own thing. When this front office shows that it makes bad trades for relief pitching, then I will no longer give them the benefit of the doubt. You can judge them based on previous front offices if you like.

    I'm pretty sure this is comment section still is considered a discussion board. But if you'd like to treat it like a snark and run area, feel free. I'm ready to discuss your comments on their merits anytime.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    Outs that you get in the 6th, 7th and 8th inning are just as valuable as the three you get in the 9th. If it was just the closers that buried the Cubs last year, you'd have a slight point. The best staffs get their starters six innings and then the bullpen dominates the last three innings. The Cubs were wretched the minute their starters left the mound in 2013 for the most part.

    Trading a guy coming off a career year for better than average relief pitching is not a bad thing. Schierholtz has one year on his contract, profiles as a fourth OF or platoon starter on most teams and will not get you a starting pitcher or a closer in return trade.

    Aside from ALL OF THAT, both Storen and Clippard have proven closing abilities, and either or both could be flipped at the deadline if necessary at a higher value when teams are trying to build a relief pitching arsenal for a playoff run.. It would be a smart trade by the Cubs if they can do that.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I think the intent is to have such a prolific number of arms within the system that they can build the BP internally and tweek it each year. most of these are RP's because they didn't cut it as SP's... But we're not there yet. I'd expect them to be interested in any proven BP arm on the market... but I suspect they'll be looking for pieces that provide them value, are s/t and "flippable", etc...

    Storen & Clippard are both proven MLB set-up men & Closers. If you look into the numbers a bit, Storen is a viable turn around candidate as he had an off year compared to his larger sample size. Opposite goes for Clippard as he was a little lucky last year. Both are still young and under control... Though their super two status makes them pricier each year....

    I'll be curious to see what we get for everyday Jimmy.... after all we got T Wood+ a couple of long shots for 1yr of Sean Marshall... with this new CBA and the $$$ Sp's are getting in FA, I wouldn't expect them to get a team to part with a fringe starter like that so easily.

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    btw john - spam filter is much better, thanks.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Thanks. I think I finally got the right combo. Haven't had a comment get stuck since I last tweaked it again -- yet no spam. I've achieved spam filter equilibrium!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No double posts for me, but I still get the message that the post as to be approved by the administrator.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Yeah, I don't know what the deal is with that. I even get it when I post a comment.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ha! I wonder who the administrator is then...

  • In reply to Quedub:

    It's me. That's why it's a glitch in the system.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I know. That was a joke. Sorry.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Haha :) I whiffed on that one.

  • Hoyers comments about dealing a top prospect lead me to believe they are trying to get Bradley/ Skaggs/Trahan + package for Shark/Soler

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Sorry but there would be no plus.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    I'd be extremely reticent to give two major trade chips for one minor league pitcher.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I was thinking that might be the case too...a big sweetener, perhaps?

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Are you saying Bradley or Skaggs or Trahan + prospects for Shark or Soler? Or do those slashes mean "ands"?

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Sorry. Dumb question. I see it now...

  • was thinking they could maybe weasle 1 of those comp picks :)
    but this would be a great trade i think for both teams .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I'm down if it's Samardzija + Soler for Bradley + pitching prospect + Trahan. I agree with Gallo don't see there being anything added on the D-Backs side beyond that, but I still don't see any reason for Towers to deal Bradley except for being Towers.

  • Make it happen Theo !

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    is this your speculation or a rumor you read somewhere? I don't think I've seen anything to contradict Towers' repeated statements that the Diamondbacks are not trading Archie Bradley. I am hoping you read it somewhere!

    Would be an exciting turn of events but my guess is it would probably take the Dodgers acquiring Price to put Bradley/Samardzjia into play and even then I'd be doubtful.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Just my speculation hearing Hoyer putting a major prospect in play. Wish i read it some where.

  • Love a possible Storen or Clippard addition!!

  • rather have Storen , 2 years younger and other than a really bad July He was lights out last year.

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    Have to believe something's going to go down tonight.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ray:

    Other than the Bears you mean? Thank you, I'll be here all week.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agree about the Bears, but I think the Cubs will do something tonight.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Bears 31-21. They don't lose on Mike Ditka night, Forte goes off and Devin You Are Ridiculous Hester returns a kickoff for a TD and the record.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Honestly, I'm just glad I get to see 'em tonight.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Bears will need help from the weather to hold Dallas to 21.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ray:

    Nit sure if you are in Chicago but gusty winds and subzero temps are forecast for this evening.

  • I have been reading this blog for a while now and am still amazed at the level of intelligent comment. The articles are excellent and the addition of Mike and Mauricio have made it even better - well done guys!

    I am also liking the extra league focus. Living in Brunei means I get little informed comment on what is going on around the league and so I am loving the Cubs slanted look around. Perhaps this could be a once a week feature during the season?

    Thank you all for making this my one stop shop for all things Cubs and keep up the great work.

  • In reply to BruneiCub:

    Thanks! We can do something like that. Maybe we'll let Mike do that on a weekly basis if he's up for it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    instead of the moody blues, you can call the segment "The Moody News"

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I like it!

  • IDK who this is:

    FreshPressSports ‏@freshpressports
    It is looking like Choo will sign sooner rather than later with #Cubs and #Rangers leading the way with some unknowns following.

    Please tell me we are not going to sign Choo for more than 3yrs....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I'd be surprised if it was the Cubs at this level.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Fresh Press, I think, is a blog site that poses as news. It basically accumulates links from twitter, real or unsubstantiated, and creates an online newspaper. No fact checking whatsoever. Anybody can own a Daily Press site I believe.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I just went on twitter and it was the first thing that popped up under #cubs and I had a mild stroke....

  • Now Rosenthal is reporting that Arizona is on Choo…

    Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 4m
    Source: #Dbacks on Choo. Active on multiple fronts. Could sign Choo and trade for pitcher, or trade for Trumbo and sign FA pitcher.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to North Side Irish:

    There's on update on that one in the hopper.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    can someone explain to me why Trumbo is such a hot commodity? I don't get it. Tim Brown from Yahoo said talks are revolving around Skaggs for Trumbo. I know Skaggs has lost some of his luster but I don't see Trumbo worth that. Maybe I am wrong, but not my type player.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DoubleM:

    Age - he's entering his year 28 season
    34 HRs
    30 Doubles
    .222 ISO
    20.9 HR/FB
    2.5 WAR
    REALLY CHEAP CONTRACT (arb eligible coming of a 2013 salary of $540k)
    Coming off a slightly unlucky year that cost him about 20-25 hits
    Consistency in his year-to-year batting stats
    Position versatility (though 1B/OF is not as versatile as others may have you believe, he won't hurt you defensively at either position and is actually almost a plus defender at 1B).

    My guess is that a team who acquires him can probably buy out his arb years and a year or two of free agency at a good discount. His consistency over nearly 2,000 career PAs lowers much of the inherent risk. His hit tool took a step back but his is a mild bounce back candidate there.

    He'd make a great power-hitting first baseman or DH for some team. I'm sure Arizona would put him in LF.

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    * Junior Lake is done playing in the Dominican Republic winter league, and those who saw him raved about his outfield play.

    – Carrie Muskat

    http://muskat.mlblogs.com/2013/12/09/129-extra-bases/

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Oh. That is good to hear. We all know he has the tools to be a phenomenal outfielder once he learns to play it.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Junior's #'s for Estrellas this winter:

    27 games / 48 Total Bases - .343 / .386 / .457
    2 hrs, 4 doubles, 1 triple - 6 stolen bases

    Along with Muskat's report of his OF defensive play, I'm excited for Junior to get a chance to keep proving the critics wrong this spring.

    Even if he does go down to AAA to start the year (I hope not), I'm confident that Lake will put it all together and end up being a solid MLB starter (at minimum) in the near future. Junior seems driven to succeed - combine that with his physical abilities and you have a recipe for success, in my opinion.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    His approach has NOT changed though. That's what will make him a utility player or a starter.... he has the tools. But he can't maintain success in the MLB with a 5.1% BB ratio and a 26.8% K ratio.

    I'm pulling for him, but he really has a lot of work to do. MLB Pitchers had him figured out the last few weeks of the season....

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    Not in Chicago, just saying the Bears defense (if that's what you want to call it) is not good enough to hold Dallas to 21 without help from the elements.

  • fb_avatar

    Wow. Was looking over the Cubs depth chart.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/team/depth_chart/index.jsp?c_id=chc

    Let's assume Olt wins the 3B job. What's your line up if nothing else changes? I only looked because after reading Carrie Muskat reports that Lake had a nice winter league season, he would probably break into our starting lineup for opening day.

    But who bats where? I got Rizzo "penciled in" 3rd but after that I'm lost....... lol

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    ????????

    SWEENEY CF
    LAKE LF
    RIZZO 1B
    CASTILLO C
    CASTRO SS
    SCHIERHOLTZ RF
    OLT 3B
    BARNEY 2B

    ??????????????

    OUCH.....This is gonna be rough again......

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    That's about what I see happening as well. Though I have a hunch that we will open this season without Darwin Barney at 2B. That's something I won't lose sleep over

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I really hope so .....even hoping for a vet stop gap, until Baez is ready by years end.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    We are hearing that there is a lot of inquiries about Schierholtz. If he gets traded as well can you imagine in we start with an outfield of Lake, Sweeney and Bogusevic? OMG

    I also wanted to throw Watkins in at 2B but gave Barney the edge just because of his experience. I don't see Barney lasting past the All Star game.....

    But any way you slice it, the opening day lineup is a real sleeper. But the lineup on August 1 may give us some hope if guys continue to progress.......

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    I would flip flop lake and Sweeney and keep in mind, My psychic bone is feeling that Logan Watkins will strive under Renteria and Mueller and take over second in May or June.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I think that is close but I assume Castro will start the year leading off.

  • Red Sox now saying Jackie Bradley Jr doesnt fit roster? Might a Shark for Bradley Jr/Barnes/Renaudo type scenerio work?

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    In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I don't think the Red Sox and the Cubs will be trading partners any time soon.

  • Dylan Hernandez ‏@dylanohernandez 4m
    The owner of the Rakuten Eagles told @pgammo he doesn't intend to post Masahiro Tanaka: http://bit.ly/1bybO2R

    Will speed things up with the SP market once a decision is made...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to North Side Irish:

    Is there a date that Hiroshi Mikitani must make his final decision?

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ja06DJrFe5E

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The link in that Tweet is to an article dated today, but other people are saying that quote was from last week...sorry...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to North Side Irish:

    So, about this brilliant new posting system you got, Bud...

  • No Tanaka means its imperative that Jedstein trade Shark for two SP prospects, we need the body count if you can't bring in a FA starter.

  • He isn't going to get two ML ready prospects for Samardzija. But I don't understand the comment about the body count.

    Samardzija
    Jackson
    Arrieta
    Wood

    If they don't want to go with Rusin, Villanueva or Cabrera, there is still Baker out there, and I am sure others that could fill in as the fifth starter.

  • After seeing Castro regress, yet again, last year I think NOW is the time to get some return on him. Another season similar to last, or further regression, will give the Cubs nothing back.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to INSaluki:

    He has only regressed one year following 3 really good ones. I'm not seeing where the "yet again" statement came from. You don't sell low on a guy you just signed to an extension after one down year.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Yup. Last year just seemed like two years.

  • More Tanaka info .....

    •Executives who spoke to Passan on Monday pegged a deal in the six-year, $100MM range for Tanaka, if he's posted.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    I would take Tanaka on that deal, although I think with all the teams bidding on him it might end up taking more. I wouls have to think Tanaka is licking his chops at the idea of a 100-mill contract. He might double his contract with this new system. Unfortunately his team will get nowhere near what they were expecting.

  • No way do you sell low on Castro. We are all patiently waiting on our prospects yet people keep overreacting after a down year on Castro.

  • In reply to Eric:

    Agreed. Good point.

  • In reply to Eric:

    People keep forgetting he hit .300+ 2 seasons in a row and has yet to even turn 24! Most people are still in the minors at his age, but he is a 2 time all star shortstop that everyone wants to trade after a poor season. Drives me crazy

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    I agree the Cubs should hold on to Castro unless they are blown out of the water, but to say this would be "selling low" does not seem like the right phraseology because we're not sure what high and low is with Castro. What if he has another year like 2013? Would we then say that the Cubs were selling low if they tried to trade him next offseason?

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    To this point in Castro's career it would be selling low. Sure, trade him if someone blows you away but that's not going to happen. Can't wait for the same types of comments if Bryant and/or Baez struggle at some point, which they likely will.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    Next year is one thing. But right now trading Starlin Castro is the epitome of selling low because the package you get won't be a package that 2010-2012 Castro gets you. You lower any potential return to the point where its more worth it to hope he bounces back.

    When a guy has 3 good years and 1 bad one the odds say he will bounce back, yet so many say he's regressed....after one down year. Blows my mind.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Castro's ceiling, on average, is probably about what he did in 2012, and I will settle for that if he can be a solid defensive player and start to use his speed (Rich I'm optimistic Renteria can help him with).

    If he can achieve this, then he is absolutely worth hanging on to with what they are paying him.

    What I disagree with the Castro apologists on is whether he can achieve this by going back to his approach from 2011, because the league figured him out.

    He seems to think that because he took more pitches and it didn't work that he has to be aggressive in the manner he wants to be. The reality is that it isn't about taking pitches. It's about taking the right pitches and pitch recognition.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I'm sorry but it doesn't take three years to figure a player out.

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    I don't think you can call Prior's career "short but spectacular." That sounds more like Sandy Koufax or Ralph Kiner.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    Prior played in MLB for parts of 5 seasons and accumulated 657 total innings pitched. 211 of those in his 2nd year.

  • Both Koufax and Kiner had 12 year careers. I wouldn't call them short

  • In reply to DaveP:

    tomorrow gonna b good . Cubs in good position to make a deal that accelerates the rebuild, trust JedSteien peeps.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DaveP:

    Their careers were short among those who had "spectacular careers," which in my mind amounts to Hall of Famers. Even Prior's best individual season does not rise to the level of spectacular the way I define the word.

  • I can see where the Tanaka situation wouldn't affect Samardzija in Jed' s eyes. I do however think it will have some impact from Samardzija' s point of view in terms of his asking price. If the Cubs were to land Tanaka for a greater AAV than they've yet offered Samardzija, I can see Shark stepping his price up. Or at least become less willing to come down to Theo and Jeds price. Egos...

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Tanaka would be a free agent. Jeff is still under team control for two years. It's a key difference that people keep missing - the situations are not comparable.

  • Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS 1h
    #mariners people don't want to include walker or paxton, & would rather build Price offer around position guys.

    Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS 1h
    mariners believe if they give up @tai_walker david price would be theirs. they believe they erred including him for upton.

  • Not to change the subject but has WGN come back with a contract proposal? I thought hey had 30 days? Anyone know?

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